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Posts tagged ‘freshwater marsh birds’

A Huge Flock of Wood Storks!

Wood Storks occasionally visit The Villages, FL but usually we see maybe six or seven in one spot.  This morning I saw sixty Wood Storks, many of them juveniles, at the El Santiago Golf Course pond on the El Camino Avenue end near the multi-modal path.

I think that due to the recent tropical storm to the NW of us on the coast, this flock has migrated.  We are fortunate to have seen the whole group together.  By the way, the juveniles have the fuzzy head and nearly ivory-white bills.  Wood storks begin to have a large ivory-white bony plate on their head (no feathers or fuzz) and have a darker bill as they age.

I also saw an adult Wood Stork trying to eat a very large catfish that it caught in its huge bill.  The effort did briefly attract the attention of a Great Blue Heron, but the heron got the message that it would not be able to steal the fish away!  The flock was at the pond in four separate groupings so I tried to represent some of each group with these pictures.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each photo.  Enjoy!



Two Pairs of Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes are often spotted here in The Villages, Fl along golf courses, and grassy areas near water.  I spotted a pair this afternoon along the edge of the Arnold Palmer golf course on CR 466 and another pair on Morse Blvd. at the East side of the road on the parkway abutting the Schwartz Preserve.

These wading birds primarily eat grasses, seeds, and aquatic vegetation but occasionally also dine on insects, snails, and worms.  I most often see the cranes in twos but sometimes will spot a family group with colts and less often a large gathered flock.  I believe these to be Florida Sandhill Cranes.  I was thrilled to spot the cranes this afternoon!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!


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